We've decided to follow Didi Senft, better know as "El Diablo", who since the 90's wears wears his red devil costume and trident on the roads of the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and many other international races roads.
Our decision originated from the consideration that during the years, "El Diablo" has become a real icon of this sport: from the Pantani era, Armstrong or Evans ones, he is always been there, to share with us his joy, his passion and why-not also some of his madness.
So, Today, El Diablo is a star by himself , in this film we've borrowed Didi Senft story to tell you about the funny side of the coloured and enthusiast group of the cycling fans.
They can be passionate, spontaneous, enthusiastic, tidy, sometimes drunk or chaotic, but they are really many, and you will find them anywhere and everywhere.
This is the incredible world of cycling events’ fans probably the only not-paying spectators (until now!) in the whole sports world.
Cycling fans can enphasize both race and racers emotions : without their warm participation, cycling exploits would be just poor and cold events, without witnesses,.. and without heart.
EL DIABLO AT BFF 2013!
"El Diablo. The Last Kilometer" is short film (7'), a re-editing from the feature length film "L'Ultimo Chilometro" (The Last Kilometer) specially created for the Bicycle Film Festival 2013
The short will be screened in New York! Stay tuned!
And if you like this, take a look at the feature length film "The Last Kilometer"
SOME ARTICLES ABOUT EL DIABLO
Who is "El Diablo?" (from Wikipedia)
Dieter "Didi" Senft (born February 7, 1952 in Reichenwalde, Germany) is known as the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia devil or El Diablo. Since 1993, he has been seen in the Tour and Giro's many stages wearing his red devil costume and painting trident symbols on the road some miles before he appears. Senft attributes the inspiration for the costume to German cycling announcer Herbert Watterot who called the last lap of local criterium races, "the Red Devil's Lap."
He is also an inventor who has created over 100 bicycles, including the largest in the world. He is listed in the Guinness Book of Records for building the largest mobile guitar (taking the form of a bicycle).
During multi-day stage races he often travels ahead of the race itself in a custom-decorated camper vehicle, picking various locations for the race to pass by. He is also a regular attendee at important single day races, such as the spring classics and world championships.
During the 2006 edition of Tour of Switzerland, Didi Senft painted his signature trident on the road the day before the competitors came by his door. But later that day the Swiss police arrived and said it was illegal and that he must either pay a fine or go to jail. He was also forced to remove the painting from the road.
He was again in the spotlight at Euro 2008 when he rode through Klagenfurt in his specially created "Football Bike" prior to the Germany vs Croatia Match.
He was seen at the Giro d'Italia 2011, 2012 and Koln Marathon 2011 in pink Devil costume
The DEVIL: PEZ-Clusive Interview!
( from PEZ)
by Florian Wenk
The Man Behind the Fork - You've seen him roadside at the Tour for years, and a photo with him is a must-have for true fans. The Devil is perhap the most famous fan in sports – and PEZ caught up with him as he made ready for the 2004 Tour.
He's crazy. He's nuts. He's German! You gotta love this guy! His real name is Didi Senft, and he's from Storkow in Germany near Berlin. He drives all over Europe in his mini-mini-van, towing a huge bicycle and planting himself along the pro cycling race routes.
It's contagious! Stand near the Devil and you'll find yourself yelling "allez allez allez!"
PCN: Didi, you are the maybe most famous cycling fan in all the land! You pop up at all the important races, wearing red tights, holding a pitch-fork, chasing riders and causing general comotion by the roadside. How did it all begin?
Didi: Well, I've been passionate for cycling for 30, 40 years. I was an amateur road racer, riding for different clubs in the former GDR and East-Berlin. Unfortunately, I never made it to the national team. But I wanted to be live at the most important race of this time, the Course de la Paix – so I went there every year as a fan to follow the different stages. Since 1993, I follow the races as "The Devil" as I felt that there was something missing among the fans. Someone who cheers them up, fans as well as riders, and who gives the races a certain, special surrounding. During the past 11 years, the Devil's role definitely became a part of my personality.
PCN: It is said, that you're a holder of several records, that you are listed in the Guinness Book of Records. What's this all about?
DS: Yes, that's true. I have built about 75 fun bikes. Among them is the world's biggest bike. It's 7.80 x 3.70 meters!
PCN: Is this the bike that you take to the roads of the Tour de France, close to the Devil?
DS: No, that's a different, a smaller bike. It's a problem to transport it over the long distances and expecially through the mountains, so I use a smaller bike when at races or the TdF.
PCN: You are full of energy and enthusiasm at the races, and thousands of fans have met you chasing and shouting. Over a 3 week race like the TdF, for example, what hurts most, the muscles in your legs (from chasing riders), the muscles in your arm (from holding the fork) or the muscles in your face?
DS: To be honest, I don't really have pain in my muscles. The biggest problem is my breath – it sometimes really hurts as I am running around and chasing for several hours a day.
PCN: How do you find the best place for your spectacle? It seems that it's usually not the key point of a stage.
DS: Yes, this is true. I try to avoid those places, as there is usually too much of a crowd, which does not really suit my role for which I need some space. I usually arrive several hours before the riders, so I can install my bike and paint the road. For the TdF, I carry about 50 litres of white wallpaint with me and I draw forks and bicycles on the roads. I have never painted names on the road, but this year I will write "Vino" down there as it is really a pity that he'll not be in the T-Mobile team at the TdF. When the advertising caravan arrives, I jump on all the vehicles, I chase the caravan girls and I scream at them. When the riders are passing by, I never afflict them. It's a question of respect for them. I chase them for the media, only from behind and never too close. Of course, there are riders who change the side of the road when seeing me. I don't know why they do so, but I take it as a sign not to chase them. Especially some riders of the female peloton do so.
PCN: How's your relationship with the riders, the soigneurs and the race officials?
DS: All in all, the cycling community is a big family. Everyone knows everybody. So it happens that you have a cup of coffee together with the riders or a drink with the policemen who follow the TdF. This way, I usually get the race results of other day's stage, as I don't have a TV with me and as I don't speak any other language than German… On the other hand, there has been some trouble with the police from the different departements as well as in the Giro d'Italia. When I was painting the road (which was brand-new, especially made for the Giro), they asked me to follow and I really had to insist not to be arrested. In the past, they have always been tolerant to the fans…
When I was travelling to the 2003 World Championships in Hamilton, I was nearly not let through the customs at the airport. They didn't want to let me in as a tourist. I nearly had to travel back to Germany again. Well, it looked like they never had seen a passenger in a devil's costume arriving by plane…
PCN: Do you have different costumes, fitting the races you are at? Or a warmer one for mountain and rain stages?
DS: Although having thought about changing my costume, I try to stay original and not to make changes in my outfit. When it is cold or raining, I wear warm clothes under the costume. And a polka-dot suit for mountain stages or a pink one for the Giro is definitely not planned…
PCN: On the other hand, you always adapt your fork to the different races with flags and different colours. Is it always the same fork? And which material is it made of?
DS: Yes, my fork always fits the event. In total, I have made about 20 different forks. My latest model is made of aluminium, which means it is not that safe. For races overseas, I have got a plastic model – it's not as nice as the other ones, but I am allowed to take it into the plane.
PCN: You've been following pro races for decades now, what are some of the changes you have seen?
DS: Well, there are stage races which are definitely up and coming, like the Deutschland-Tour. The enthusiasm grows year by year. – On the other hand, the situation becomes worse in the Giro d'Italia. That's what I noticed this year. There are fewer fans than in the past. This might be due to the riders' personalities. When there still was a Marco Pantani, the Italian "tifosi" were enthusiastic. Now it has cooled down. I fear it's due to the mentality of the Italian fans: they seem to cheer this rider up, who is actually wearing pink. So it's no wonder that Pantani got depressed… For Damiano Cunego, I hope that he'll have a strong personality which will not get affected too easily by the public, the fans and the media.
PCN: What do you expect from this year's TdF? And who do you count on for the future?
DS: Well, I hope it will be again a very thrilling race! For me as a German, it would be great if Jan could win. But the chances that Lance will go for his 6th victory seem to be really good. - For the future, I count on Patrik Sinkewitz. He's going to become one of the great champions!
PCN: What are the plans for the rest of your season?
DS: During the TdF, I am going to do some insights for German TV. A trip to the Olympics was planned, but I probably will not be able to go there as there is not enough sponsor money left. In addition to following two stage races in Germany, the Brandenburg-Rundfahrt and Hessen-Rundfahrt, and would like to head then to the World Championships in Verona.
PCN: Well, Didi, good luck for your further plans – and many thanks for the interview!